By Kobus Kleyn
It sometimes takes a crisis to reveal the power of everyday tools, proven true by the current state of the world in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Although we can make comparisons to the 2008-2009 global market crash, the fallout of what we currently face will be much more damaging as it impacts nearly every aspect of our lives.
Considering the number of countries that have gone into lockdown and the millions who have lost or will lose their income due to unemployment and business challenges, this crisis could become the most significant since the Great Depression. With this possibility top-of-mind for many, our clients may be feeling uncertain or panicked about their financial future.
Communicating with clients through social media and other online tools can provide reassurance and a source of stability.
Connecting In A Crisis
During the 2008-2009 market crash, I saw the power of an active social presence come to the forefront for the first time. Online interactions allowed people to stay in touch and informed during a difficult time when social media was just beginning to take off.
Social media has become part of everyday life as we know it today, and many of us are now surviving in a completely virtual environment, making the opportunities for connection during this pandemic even more significant.
During stay-at-home orders we are all spending more time than ever online and social media offers a source of both information and entertainment. Though clients may be preoccupied with a number of challenges, you can meet them where they already are with reassuring reminders that their financial needs are still being cared for.
Clients are seeking this comfort, as the market fluctuations and subsequent news cycles can cause panic and confusion. A recent MDRT survey shows 72% of Americans are at least moderately nervous that they will personally be impacted by a recession in the next year.
This fear is leading clients to turn to their advisors for advice: 63% of Americans who currently work with an advisor say they have talked to them about the impact of coronavirus on their finances.
Keeping your social platforms up to date provides an opportunity for clients to connect and see how you’re managing their financial plans, which will mitigate some of the unease they may be feeling.
Creating A Social Media Presence
Having an established foundation on social media will be the most beneficial once disaster does strike: if you’ve already been demonstrating your knowledge, clients will feel more comfortable with your approach to wealth protection throughout the crisis.
If you don’t already have an established presence you can still create that resource now for clients and there are plenty of relevant platforms to choose from. Start by finding out which channels your clients are already using.
I have personally been an avid user of LinkedIn since 2005, and over time it has come to serve as my CV, blog, photo sharing platform and social tool all in one. Harnessing LinkedIn as an all-encompassing platform allows me to incorporate the power of social media into my business model to manage both a professional and personal space, without the need for multiple channels.
Once you’ve chosen which platform works best for you in reaching your audience, begin by following relevant publications, fellow advisors and your clients. As you build a following, interact with other advisors and reputable accounts through comments, likes and shares.
Point your followers toward relevant articles and posts and consider sending personalized messages on the platform when content might interest an individual client.
Write your own posts to demonstrate your expertise in topics your clients and peers are interested in including previous market crash data, financial planning, branding, the economy, behavioral science or even social media itself.
For any clients who are still not using social media, consider linking to your posts within the newsletters you are already sending via email distribution lists. Even if they don’t use the social platform, they will still be able to view your content and read what you’ve been sharing.
Always keep the bigger picture in mind and reassure clients that you’re considering their long-term financial and personal success, rather than just trying to make money.
You can often get this message across just through your meaningful interactions online and giving them a place to reach you when they have concerns. Are you using social media as part of your value proposition to make a difference for your clients?
About the Author
Kobus Kleyn is a Certified Financial Planner at Kainos Financial Services. He obtained his Post Graduate Qualification in Financial Planning at the University of Free State (South Africa) and his MDP & AEP from UNISA (Southern Africa). He holds seven consecutive MDRT Top of the Table recognitions and is a well-recognized CFP in South Africa and globally. By joining and engaging with industry peers via associations like MDRT, you can keep your skills at the top of their game.